By Darya Minovi, Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB)
After three days of counselor training, everyone woke up ready and excited to welcome new and returning campers alike. Counselors and staff headed over to the airport to coordinate logistics and pick up campers flying in, while the remaining counselors helped prepare the space for everyone arriving. People rearranged furniture, put up streamers, and set up “throw it in the bags” for campers and staff-all with the intention of making the space near perfect for campers.
We emphasized the importance of showing energy when first meeting the campers, but that didn’t stop many of us from being blown back by the sheer amount of excitement present when the campers arrived. Counselors were jumping around, clapping, and cheering, and best of all, campers were responding with just as much enthusiasm. Old faces greeted each other, while new faces were embraced with just as much eagerness. There was, and still is, a feeling in the air that this camp will be special, as each year is, for everyone involved.
After campers became acclimated with a few games of vasati and football, as well as icebreakers, they became acquainted with their counselors and their groups. Whittier College’s campus served as a home to small circles of Iranian-Americans spread across the quad, learning the details of each other’s lives, and beginning to form bonds that will carry them through the next week and, hopefully, the next year.
By Arian Jadbabaie
Every Camp so far has opened up, generally, with a talk by various heads of staff to the campers, outlining responsibilities, rules, goals, expectations, and boundaries, and this Camp was no different. But like always, the facilitators took an open approach to everything-rules at Camp Ayandeh are never enforced with the phrase “because we said so.” Instead, campers learn that they too are responsible for the future of the wonderful space that is Camp Ayandeh-by following the rules set forth and being positive role models, they can help ensure that Camp continues as a special place for young Iranian-Americans. The best part is, the campers took all this in stride, not only accepting these rules but also respecting that they were presented in a non-authoritative fashion.
Keep up with Ayandeh and Javan on IAAB Blog: IAABlog (www.iranianalliances.org/blog)
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About Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) - IAAB is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit volunteer organization with a young, dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran. The mission of the organization is to address issues of the Iranian diaspora community while raising awareness of the Iranian community, promoting leadership, and connecting Iranians across borders. For more information about IAAB, please visit www.iranianalliances.org.
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